Skipping breakfast ‘may be beneficial for diet’
For years we’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but skipping an early snack might not be so bad after all. This may come as good news for anyone out there who struggles to stomach food first thing in the morning.
Tim Spector, a professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College in London, has put paid to theories that eating three square meals a day is the best thing for our health. He claims poor quality research and out-of-date theories are to blame for this common misconception, adding that previous studies don’t show how skipping breakfast could directly cause obesity.
“Studies showing a link between obesity and missing the meal are biased by the bad habits of many breakfast skippers,” he is quoted as saying by MailOnline. “We know they are more likely to be less well-educated and ignore health advice, eat less fibre, smoke and avoid sport.
“All of which can lead to obesity and poor health regardless of breakfast.”
The professor claims that in six randomised studies conducted during recent years, four of them found that people who skipped breakfast – and therefore ate less – actually lost weight.
He argues that a Mediterranean diet, which typically consists of two meals later in the day with many people opting for just a cup of coffee in the morning, could be the best path to choose.
While some people insist children can suffer at school if they don’t eat in the morning, professor Spector believes further investigation needs to be carried out to determine if this is accurate. He adds that the benefits of breakfast may simply be down to genes or personal preference.
“The studies we've done with twins at King's College London have shown a clear gene influence on whether you are a morning person or an evening person,” the expert explained. “And these body-clock rhythms undoubtedly affect the times we prefer to eat.
“So we should probably let our bodies guide our choice of having breakfast, rather than dubious studies and dogma.”
Western societies only began eating three meals a day during Victorian times, with ancients Greeks and Romans relying on one big daily meal each evening.
Previous studies have shown that longer periods of fasting – such as eating once a day - led to significant reductions in body fat and in the stress hormone cortisol.